'Starc for next Test is a no-brainer'

Written By Unknown on Senin, 12 Agustus 2013 | 23.41

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Mitchell Starc has been dropped twice so far in this Ashes series. Source:AP

THE sustained brilliance of Ryan Harris in the fourth Test has contrasted with the struggle of his fellow fast bowlers at Chester-le-Street.

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Harris has overtaken Peter Siddle as Australia's leading bowler in the series with 20 wickets at just 19 apiece.

It has been an exceptional performance from a fast bowler who, for much of his first-class career, never looked a chance of representing his country.

That Harris took most of the wickets in England's second innings as it amassed a lead of 298 on the fourth day raised questions about those who did not.

Australia has chased more only once to win in England, 3-404 in 1948 when Don Bradman made almost half of the score.

On a pitch which traditionally aids seam bowlers Nathan Lyon (seven wickets) claimed more in the match than Siddle (one) and Jackson Bird (two) combined.

Bird and Siddle failed to take a wicket between them in the second innings.

Follow the Ashes action with our Match Centre, featuring video of every wicket and boundary, ball-by-ball commentary and Hawkeye.

Siddle looked cooked after busting a gut in back to back Tests for the second time in the series. He and Harris are co-captains of the 110 percent club.

With eight days to recover for the fifth and final Test at The Oval Siddle deserves the opportunity to finish the series as Australia's senior bowler given all he has done over the past two years.

Bird is a different story. He was chosen specifically for this match because he was regarded as a seamer not a swing bowler, yet failed to make an impact.

Accurate and unlucky at times, he still did not look threatening for long periods.

Bird should have had a wicket on day four when Tim Bresnan padded up and the ball cut back appearing to trap him in front of the stumps.

Umpire Aleem Dar gave it not out so the Australians reviewed it and lost again on umpire's call, losing a referral in the process.

As a fundamental philosophy of a bat and ball game, anyone who pads up should lose the benefit of the doubt and hence the right to be saved by umpire's call.

Australia's conundrum on what to do for selection is further complicated by Shane Watson's groin injury, which prevents him from bowling.

The first selection decision should be the reinstatement of Mitchell Starc.

While he may spray the new ball at times he also bowls wicket-taking deliveries in his early spells, something Bird has struggled to do in tour matches and this Test.

And it is a myth that Starc leaks runs. His economy rate in this series of 2.71 runs per over is better than any of the other four fast bowlers.

Starc can also bat, which is something Australia has not managed to do well for much of this year.

He has a highest score of 66 not out in the series and his average of 26 is virtually as good or better than most of Australia's batsmen on tour.

Most significantly Starc has taken eight wickets in his two Tests at 27. Anyone who can average four wickets a Test is making a significant contribution.

Just who replaces Watson will be the biggest issue but Starc playing at The Oval should be a no-brainer.

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